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Research opportunities

Dalhousie University is a global leader in environmental research. This research allows us to better understand our world and our place in it by addressing issues of sustainability—in the oceans and on land.

There are over 140 Dalhousie professors engaged in world-class research looking at specific aspects of the environment and sustainability. Some are pioneering green building approaches through the integration of technology and design. Others are using lasers to determine the extent of atmospheric damage over Canada’s Arctic.

Right now, Dalhousie faculty are engaged in research projects dealing with bioenergy, carbon capture and storage, natural resource management, marine energy systems, marine and environmental policy, environmental history, and energy efficiency.

Dal professors' sustainability-related research projects

Dr. Tarah Wright, associate professor of Environmental Science

Many of Dr. Wright’s research projects have concerned issues of sustainability and the environment in various educational settings. Her current research interests are

  • education for sustainable development
  • indicators of environmental sustainability
  • sustainability measures in higher education
  • institutional environmental change
  • applying experiential and transformative learning theories in the environmental science classroom.

Dr. Shannon Sterling, Environmental Science

Dr. Sterling’s main interest lies in water usage. Her ongoing research interests include

  • the impacts of land cover and climate change on the global water cycle and Canadian river flows;
  • global datasets of land cover change, and land surface fluxes in the carbon and water cycles;
  • human use of global terrestrial resources, considering carbon, water, and energy cycles; and
  • the human impact on water-flows, river systems, and sediment transport in Nova Scotia watersheds.

Dr. Michelle Adams, Management and Environmental Science

Dr. Adams’ research focuses on the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to optimizing renewable energy development and improved business/industrial sustainability. She has investigated such varied topics as

  • stakeholder engagement in energy policy development;
  • the practical application of the industrial ecology metaphor to industrial systems; and
  • improving the environmental performance of small and medium-sized businesses.

She aims to understand how to remove informational and operational barriers that impede the integration of sustainably focused innovations and strategies—within private, public, and civil society settings.


Sustainability-related projects ESS students have been doing

  • investigating the implications of large-scale agriculture in southern California on the region’s water supply
  • taking part in a project about the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries
  • determining the efforts multinational retailers are making to facilitate developing sustainable agriculture, as concerns of disruptions to an import-dominated food supply-chain
  • being part of a team that helps companies develop marketing plans that consider the sustainability of their business
  • helping find ways to minimize greenhouse gas emissions associated with seafood products
  • developing green policies that can be used at other universities campuses across Canada—and around the world